2011 Garden Plans & More Snow!

Finally after a half-dozen revisions, the 2011 garden plans have mostly been finalized.  I’m sure there will be a few more changes to this when the plants begin to go into the garden.

First, here is the coloring system and the numbers of each vegetable I’ve used below for the plans.

2011 Garden Plan Legend

And for the full layout of the garden.  This is pretty hard to read but more than anything, it gives the general layout of where items will be placed.

Full 2011 Garden Plans

You can click here to see the full view; it is about 25% larger than what is displayed here.

This year is the year of attempting to stuff more plants in the same amount of space as last year.  There won’t be any additional space used for the garden as I’ve fully used everything I have – unless I dig out more sod in the front yard – which simply won’t happen.

Last year, I planted corn 12 inches apart in rows 18 inches apart.  This year, the corn will be planted 8 inches apart in rows 12 inches apart.  This is because I only have one area of the front garden I can use for corn – since the other side will have onions, peppers, and tomatoes.

Potatoes will also be squeezed to eight inches between plants instead of 12 inches.  When I was digging up the potatoes, there still seemed to be considerable space between the potatoes in the ground.  By making them closer, I hope they will produce just as good – except there will be more plants!

The broccoli will also be squeezed into an 12″ x 12″ area.  We’ll see how successful this is.  The broccoli have all been planted 18 inches apart in rows & between plants.  This isn’t a 50% reduction, but it is considerable.

This year will also see the re-introduction of cauliflower.  I skipped cauliflower last year because of the bad results with it.  So, I’m going to try it again with the same 12″ x 12″ spacing.

What else will be planted closer?  Peas.  I’ve planted peas all four inches apart for the past two years.  This year they will occupy 50% less space; they will be planted two inches apart.

Onions will also be changed from eight inch spacing to six inch spacing between plants and rows.  This is primarily because I expect a much larger number of onions planted this year.  Someone on the GardenWeb forums offered to send me some Varsity Onion seed they didn’t need – so I’ll be planting these along with Copra this year.

What will be new for the 2011 year?  Watermelon.  I had a small gardening area where I’ve planted potatoes before, but the ground is simply too hard for potatoes and all of them rotted last year.  So, hopefully watermelon will grow in this area.

What won’t be back for the 2011 year?  Parsley and cilantro.  Last year I planted 32 of each (16 kept after thnning).  We used absolutely zero parsley and the cilantro we received wasn’t worth the effort.  The cilantro was grown only for our salsa – and there wasn’t enough to make a taste difference.  This area will now be used by more plantings and more varieties of lettuce.

So I’m certainly hoping that this year will not be a flop.  With spacing things closer together, this will allow for higher yields (hopefully) – but will require additional fertilizer.  I plan to use the pelletized 12-12-12 fertilizer more this year.  In addition, I’m hoping to have my compost tea system fully completed where the tea will be dilluted with water in the rain barrel PVC irrigation system.  I have a total of 12 rain barrels all hooked in series now – and three of those will be filled with compost tea.  So it will be 3 parts water to 1 part compost tea.

 


 

Rotation Schedule

 


 

I am going to attempt some crop rotation this year as well.  While it is unreadable in the full-sized copy of the graphic above, the rotation will be very limited.

  • Last year, I planted cucumbers where the peas were in the garage garden.  This year it will be the same – although I’ll reduce the cucumber plants from six last year – to only four this year.  The peas and cucumbers work well together and I just have to be careful when removing the pea vines that I don’t pull out the cucumber vines.
  • When the broccoli and cauliflower are finished producing mid-June, I plan to backfill this area with 24 Silver Queen corn plants (hence the 24 number in the legend above under corn).  I have an unopened 2 ounce packet of Silver Queen seed from last year – so I’ll use 24 of them here.  Silver Queen is a long-season corn – so I hope it can complete before the fall frosts.
  • When the corn in the front garden is finished (which is Honey Treat corn – matures in approximately 76 days), this area will be filled with Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans.  Beans can be planted six inches apart – and the front garden is four feet wide.  I certainly am not going to make eight rows of green beans in this area – but will plant four rows.  That still is about 124 additional green beans (hence the 124 number in the legend under Bush Beans).
  • If needed, additional Bush Blue Lake 274 green beans will be planted where the Ventura celery is in the front garden.  I’ll make two rows in this area – two rows of 20 plants each (40 total – hence the 40 number in the legend under Bush Beans).

Planting Varieties

 


 

These are the varieties of vegetables that I plan to plant this year.  Some of them are already started – and I just hope they were not planted too soon!

  • Copra Onions
  • Varsity Onions (thanks to seed from a GardenWeb Member) (new this year)
  • Ventura Celery
  • Green Goliath Broccoli
  • Premium Crop Broccoli (new this year; going to trial it against Green Goliath that has always proven good)
  • Anaheim Hot Peppers (new this year)
  • California Wonder Bell Peppers
  • Snowball X Cauliflower
  • Snow Crown Cauliflower (new this year; going to trial it against the Snowball X which didn’t do well two years ago)
  • Simpson Elite Lettuce
  • Buttercrunch Lettuce
  • Red Salad Bowl Lettuce (may be the last year for it – bad results last year)
  • New Red Fire Lettuce (new this year)
  • Parris Island Cos Lettuce (new this year)
  • Roma Tomato
  • Best Boy Tomato
  • Red Cherry Tomato
  • Honey Treat Corn (new this year – purchased an 8-ounce packet of seed so hopefully it lasts a few years since it is no longer available)
  • Silver Queen Corn
  • Basil
  • Oregano (perennial so I hope the plants that rooted last year will come back this year)
  • Rosemary (new this year – hopefully I can find some room for it)
  • Bush Blue Lake 274 Bush Bean (back this year; planted in 2009 with great results – tried Greencrop last year with very bad results)
  • Kennebec Potatoes
  • Cascadia Snap Peas (new this year)
  • Crimson Sweet Watermelon (new this year)
  • Little Leaf H-19 Pickling Cucumber (new this year)
  • Burpee Pickler Cucumber (haven’t decided yet if I’ll plant this)
  • Straight Eight Cucumber (haven’t decided yet if I’ll plant this)
  • Scarlet Nantes Carrot (new this year)
  • Sugarsnax Carrot (planted last year; going to compare it against the lower-cost Scarlet Nantes this year)
  • Crimson Giant Radish
  • Easter Egg Radish (new this year; going to trial this to see if it produces larger than Crimson Giant radishes)

Wow – that is quite the list now that it is put down!  Amazing how many different varieties/vegetables will be planted.

 


 

Bring Your Shovel – and Remove Some Snow!

 


 

So we have seen quite the blizzard this week in Central Illinois.  First, we got about four inches of ice pellets – followed by another four inches of snow.  This made shoveling and clearing this exceptionally difficult because how hard the snow pack was.

Then, we just got another two-three inches of snow yesterday (Saturday) that had to be cleared.  There is a couple more chances of snow in the forecast for the next week as well.

I don’t know where all of this snow can be put.  The front gardening area is fully under snow.

Front Garden - Snow Covered

This poor little Rose of Sharon tree down on the corner is almost covered up!

Snow Covered Tree

Good thing I don’t need to get into the shed for a little while!

Snow Covered Shed

The driveway is still ice-covered but I did my best of clearing it out.  Temperatures today are at 34 degrees currently so I’m hoping some of this gets melted before our next snow fall.

Ice Covered Driveway

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